Life as a SAHM means that, pretty much always, where I go, my children go, too. When you add in the facts that we do not have immediate family any closer than an hour and a half away and that babysitters are both expensive and hard to find, you get the point that pretty much always means that 95% of the time I am toting at least three of the four with me around town.
This, of course, applies to voting in primary and regular elections. Because I cannot just sneak away to vote solo, I have been carrying babies on my hips to the polls since I had just one to accompany me.
But that is not the only reason I take my children to the polls with me.
I take my Littles to my polling place because I want them to see me, each and every time, exercising my rights and using my voice, even when I know that some – if not all – of the circles I fill on the ballot are not going to carry over to the next level. I do not complain about this fact, nor do I bad mouth those who do not vote the same way as me. Instead, I focus on passing on the importance of using my right to vote, each and every time, because it is an honor and privilege, not to mention a huge responsibility, to exercise this civic duty. I need my babies to see that.
Over the years these conversations and intentions have manifested in creating ballots for my children to complete back at home (over the hot button issue of which stickers to use
the next day during play time), and proudly wearing our “Nebraskans Vote!” stickers around town (we have a real thing for stickers, it seems), and even acquiring some picture books about voting and presidents. I want voting to be a normal part of their lives so that when they become of age, it will seem like second nature for them to learn about candidates and issues and then vote on them. As our good friend DT says (sings; goodness – I am forever quoting his songs to my kids! So much so that today, when I told LT “You have to find a way to play together” he responded “You can take a turn, and then I’ll get it back.” No jokes), “Stop, think, and choooooose!”
In the aftermath of this week’s election, it was brought to my attention that a staggering number of people did not vote – some 46% did not vote, and I am floored by this. How can we move forward as a country if almost half of our voters choose not to use their electoral voices?
For those of you out there with Littles who are watching – I hope you are voting. I hope that even if you are not willing or able to talk about all the issues on the ballot or aspects of a candidate (I struggle a great deal with exposing my young children to the harshness of politics), you are willing to let your children see you voting. As with any action you do, they are watching. They are learning. And we need our young ones to know, when they become the adults of our future, that casting their votes makes a huge difference in this world.
Thanks to HVFH for the inspiration to write this post.